It's no secret that outsourcing contracts are shrinking, with companies increasingly opting for several smaller deals instead of all-inclusive mega-contracts.
Some deals, however, are downright tiny. Consider that SMBs and even individuals -- taking their cue from big business -- are looking offshore for assistance with projects as small as creating address labels for wedding invites.
According to a Wall Street Journal article reprinted in TwinCities.com, "personal offshoring" represents just a sliver of the market, but will likely grow into a larger niche as consumers become more savvy and offshore providers begin targeting this demographic.
Already, according to the article, a half-million vendors from low-cost countries market their services on sites such as Guru.com and Rentacoder.com. Global Solutions India, a Mumbai-based graphic design and Web development firm, says individuals from the U.S. -- some of whom find the company through banner ads on Google -- now account for about 20 percent of its inquiries.
While personal offshoring offers many of the same benefits as other offshore deals -- specialized skills available at a cost far below the going market rate in the U.S. -- it also has many of the same pitfalls. Language gaps can be problematic, and projects can require revisions that may eat up cost savings. The Wall Street Journal article notes that its reporters were offered a wide range of prices, "making it difficult to know what they were getting."